Immediate halt of seal release by RSPCA called for by the Angling Trust

by Aidan Bordiuk |
Updated on

The Angling Trust has called for a halt to the releasing of seals by the RSPCA on the River Nene in Peterborough, due to the significant amount of damage some of the seals are causing that choose to swim inland upon reintroduction.

A tagging program has revealed there are no less than five individual seals that are currently residing in and around Peterborough, some 30 miles from their native coastal habitats. This prolonged exposure to freshwater is not only damaging to the aquatic environment through increased predation, but also detrimental to the seal's health itself.

With the current pressures on our river systems at present, with extreme pollution incidents, predation and unprecedented flooding events, the added burden of unnatural predators might be too much for the fish stocks to tolerate.

Angling Trust's CEO Jamie Cook recently shared his views on the matter:

"In spite of the efforts made by the RSPCA team at East Winch to map suitable tides and conditions for release, evidence suggests there are an increasing number of seals re-introduced at the Sutton Bridge site which are travelling into freshwater rather than their natural marine environment," he explained.

“We have therefore asked the RSPCA to immediately cease re-introductions at the Sutton Bridge site in order to protect both the seals as well as the native freshwater fish and wildlife they are encountering."

“Having worked so hard to rescue and rehabilitate these seals there is an interest for all in seeing them returned to their natural environment and their colonies in the Wash, however the current process is not achieving that aim." he added

An EA report recently showed that the impact of the extra predation from such large marine predators is not sustainable considering the amount of other factors our rivers are currently battling.

Rob Harris, Chairman of Peterborough & District Angling Association gave a statement on the matter:

On behalf of P&DAA and clubs and organisations we represent across the Eastern region, we will continue to challenge the unnatural presence of seals for prolonged periods within freshwater inland fisheries and fight for the sustainable, successful, and healthy development of angling. To be clear, we wish no harm to seals and are concerned that they should be returned safely to their native coastal environments," Rob concluded.


Seals, whilst majestic, are doing untold damage to freshwater fish populations.
Seals, whilst majestic, are doing untold damage to freshwater fish populations.

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